MeZolith

Stories Within Stories Within History: Talking <i>MeZolith</i> with Ben HaggartyMezoLith Vol. 1 by Adam Brockbank

Excellent news!

The first volume of this graphic novel set in the mesolithic era  is back in print, with Volume Two due out later this year.

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Ben Haggarty and Adam Brockbank present a compelling version of prehistory – drawing on archaeological evidence, anthropology and folklore.

There is an insightful interview with Ben Haggarty over on the Paste Magazine site.

Dr H

 

One Girl: Details and Decisions

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Can you spot the difference between John Swogger’s latest depiction of Kat-ya, and his last?

As John turns my text for One Girl Goes Hunting into images, we’ve both been prompted to ask questions of the characters and make decisions about them.

Kat-ya has been given a grass cape in the most recent drawing, in order to root her in European prehistory.

Seeing Kat-ya on the page also led to discussions of her age, appearance and attitude to the challenges that await her.

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Looking at her, I think Kat-ya’s ready to go out and meet those challenges.

Dr H

Noggin the Nog

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Drawing the Deskford Carnyx sent me off to hunt for two picture books – Noggin and the Ice Dragon, and Noggin and the Moon mouse by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. At a very young age I had seen the animated TV show, but my love of Noggin the Nog was confirmed by the picture books on our bookshelves (presumably bought in the 1960s for my older sister).

Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin are most famous for Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and the soon to be revived Clangers. However, the Saga of Noggin the Nog, with its northern setting, its mountains and dragons and Viking ships, shields and helmets (as well as a liberal sprinkling of magic) really fired my imagination.

The stories were inspired by the Lewis Chessmen (on display in the British Museum). Thor Nogson, captain of the Guard, bears most similarity to these Norse carvings which date to c. AD 1200.

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Peter Firmin’s wonderful drawings show a wealth of research into Norse archaeology and imagery. The book cover art and the opening  titles on the animated films are decorated in the knots and swirls of Viking art with rune-style writing. In King of the Nogs we see a boat being built in the Viking clinker tradition. And (here’s the link with the Deskford Carnyx) the heralds in Noggin’s court play an instrument that is a relative of the carnyx – the lur.

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There are (knowing) anachronisms too. The clinker built Viking ship is loaded up with boiled eggs and cocoa from the village store (which looks like a 1960s grocers). The Nogs are also keen on a good cup of tea and a nice slice of hot buttered toast.

If you haven’t ever encountered Noggin the Nog I urge you to head over to the Dragons’ Friendly Society and the Smallfilms Treasury to find out more.

Top of my book wish list at the moment is Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth. I can’t help thinking that my interest in this book is linked to my childhood love of Noggin, Nooka, Graculus the green bird and the strange northern landscapes of The Northlands.

One Girl Goes Hunting

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This is Kat-Ya.

Around two years ago my family had been binging on Studio Ghibli films. While watching Howl’s Moving Castle both Dr A and I were struck by the similarity between the landscape of the Waste in the animation and the landscape of Orkney. The vivid blues and greens, the huge skies, the constant movement of grass in the wind. I remarked that Neolithic Orkney would look great as anime/ manga in the Studio Ghibli style, and I imagined a girl standing next to the Stones of Stenness. This was the spark of an idea that led to me writing One Girl Goes Hunting.

Having written the script I knew that my artistic talents were not up to the job, so the script lay waiting until Steph Moser suggested that I get in touch with John Swogger.

Emails have gone backwards and forwards as I’ve tried to explain to John how the world of One Girl Goes Hunting looks inside my head.

In the second batch of files I saw her on the screen in front of me. The girl I’d imagined. Kat-Ya.

Dr H